Ean Golden sat down with electronic music technology pioneers Dave Smith and Roger Linn for a special in depth interview focused on analog hardware and its uses for making compelling electronic music.
This interview was shot in January – Dave Smith has since been awarded with a Grammy, and MIDI turned thirty! Read more here: http://www.djtechtools.com/2013/01/09…
The LinnDrum was the second machine from Linn Electronics. It’s basically an upgraded version of the original LM-1 with added crash and ride cymbals to the kit. The LinnDrum uses samples of acoustic drum sounds. At the time, they sounded great and much more realistic and they were a fresh alternative to the analog drum sounds of the ’80′s drum machines. The LinnDrum also had a handy upgrade option, a well designed layout and interface, and live drum trigger inputs.
The LinnDrum had beefed up the sampled sounds from 28 to a 35kHz sample rate. It features 15 sounds including bass, snare, rimshot, hihat, crash, ride, three toms, cabasa, tambourine, high and low congas, cowbell, and clap. Up to 12 sounds are available simultaneously. Individual controls are available to tune, pan, and mix each drum sound via dedicated knobs and sliders. An Accent is available for the kick, snare and hats. The handy upgrade options involve inserting new chips containing new sets of sampled drum sounds created by many session drummers of the time.
The sequencer had some innovative features (for the time) such as swing, quantizing and memory storage! Two-bar patterns can be recorded in real or step time, with or without quantizing. There are 56 user patterns for storing your drum patterns. There are also 42 preset drum patterns. Patterns can be arranged into Songs for which there are 49 memory locations. Old songs and patterns can be off-loaded to cassette tape for storage. Designed for the studio, there are 15 individual outputs for each sound around the back as well as external sync and trigger but no MIDI (unless modified by a 3rd party). The LinnDrum’s features made it the most professional drum machine of its time.
More info: http://bit.ly/TIfQZj
During Dubspot’s recent trip to Seattle’s Decibel Festival, our video team caught up with Roger Linn, the godfather of the modern drum machine, Carl Craig, one of Detroit’s most talented producers, for a lecture/discussion about the history and evolution of the rhythm machines that have shaped our musical world.
One of the most inspiring elements of Seattle’s annual Decibel Festival is the conversations that transpire between some of the world’s most talented musical thinkers. Decibel acts as a catalyst for these moments, with lectures and demonstrations taking place throughout the festival. We were especially excited to catch a workshop where drum machine creator and pioneer Roger Linn joined Detroit techno innovator Carl Craig for a talk on the evolution of drum machines and the future of electronic rhythm.
In this video, Linn explains that our assumption of drum machines appearing in the early 80s is incorrect, and he takes us on a tour of early electronic rhythm devices such as Leon Thermin’s Rhythmicon (1930), the Chamberlin Rhythmate (1957), Raymond Scott’s Bandito the Bongo Artist (1963), Seeburg’s Select-A-Rhythm (1964), the PAiA Programmable Drum Set (1975) and the CompuRhythm CR-78 (1978). Craig probes with questions regarding interface design for musicians vs. engineers, discusses the development of drum interfaces, and talks about how the Akai MPC changed his production and composition techniques.
“A fellow VSE’r was needing helping syncing his Pro One to his LinnDrum, so I thought I make a quick tutorial video. Remember to enter the LAST note of your sequence into the ProOne’s sequencer FIRST (thanks Howard Jones for that tip).”
Here’s a new video noodle session from SynthMania:
“A quick noodling session with Minimoog, Emulator, LinnDrum. Again, my audio interface is being exchanged and I’m using the computer’s internal card, so apologies for the noise floor. The Emulator going out of tune in a couple of parts is because I inadvertently moved the pitch bend wheel with my elbow ”
Here is a demo with the Juno 60 and LinnDrum doing some 80′s-ish, HI-NRG drums and basslines. The two were ran through a Roland MMP-2 Preamp/Compressor, then the SPDIF of that went straight into my Allen & Heath Xone DX.
The Linndrum hits extremely hard and is a complete joy to use. The Juno-60 is locking onto the trigger out of the Linn which allows for quick timing on basslines.
A review of the latest partnership between two of the most well respected synth designers around. This is a 6 voice analog drum machinesynthesizer.
An improvisation in a Valerie Dore / Italo Disco style circa 1984. Featuring the Orchestrator, Juno-60, LinnDrum and SH-101
Crumar Orchestrator: string machine
Roland SH-101: bass
Roland Juno-60: synth strings
Linn LinnDrum: drum machine
Reverb: built-in Roland M-10DX digital mixer
Delay on Linn claps: Boss DD-3 digital delay pedal
Hardware feature – Crumar Orchestrator:
In 1977, Crumar introduced the Orchestrator (called the Multiman-S in Europe), a fully polyphonic orchestral string machine. It has five basic sounds: Brass, Piano, Clavichord, Cello and Violin. The keyboard is split in the middle allowing you to play one combination of instruments with the left hand, and another combination with the right.
All five sounds are available at all times, you simply adjust how much volume you want of each sound. Feature just a single instrument, or create your own orchestral ensemble—you are the Orchestrator! With the keyboard being split, there are five separate instrument volume sliders for the left hand (lower split) and another five for the right hand (upper split).
There is also a sixth sound: Bass. The Bass sound has its own volume slider as well, but it is assigned to only the bottom 27 notes of the keyboard. It is also not the greatest of Bass sounds either, and can sometimes muddy the sound.
There is a filter section but only for the Brass. It uses some pretty old-fashioned terminology: ‘Emphasis’ for resonance and ‘Contour’ for cutoff. There are also Attack and Decay controls for the filter. There is another filter for the Cello and Violin string sounds called ‘Timbre’ which can adjust between a ‘Mellow’ to ‘Bright’ sound—basically it’s a highpass filter. There is a ‘Vibrato’ effect section, basically the LFO, with ‘Speed’ and ‘Depth’ controls. The only global envelope control is a ‘Sustain’ length slider.
The Orchestrator’s best sounds are its Brass (probably because it is the sound with the VCF filter) and the Strings. In fact the Strings sound very similar to the famous ARP Solina. Unfortunately there are no built-in Ensemble effects to really sweeten them up…but that’s what outboard gear is for!
Like most synthesizers of its time, the Orchestrator was built with the performing musician in mind. It is its own flight-case! Its casing is very tough and durable, it has a handle and a cover/lid to keep it protected during transport. And if it looks heavy, it is! Additional options for the Orchestrator included an organ-like 13-note (G-G) Foot Pedal Board, Sustain Pedal, and a Foot Expression Pedal controller for the filter cutoff. There are no CV/Gate options, just connectors for the external pedal controllers.
About section via VSE
Richard Devine explores the Tempest
“Just playing a rhythmic beat exercise on the new Tempest Drum machine by Dave Smith and Roger Linn. Interesting drum synthesis and parameter control allows for some really cool beat manipulation. The sounds featured are from 4 different analogue synthesis kits I created and programmed.”
A live improvisation of a typical mid-’80s style arrangement – a bit in vein of King’s “Love and Pride”. The Memorymoog has the lion share in this video, with its typical, quintessential synth brass. The LinnDrum is the standard drum machine of that era, and the PPG offers an elegant choir sound.
Hardware feature – PPG Wave 2.3:
The German made PPG Wave 2 series of synthesizers are incredibly great sounding analog/digital hybrid vintage synths. They use digital samples of wavetables and feature analog VCA envelope and VCF filter sections for a classic and warm sound. The Wave 2.2 (pictured above) has oscillators that can generate over 2,000 different single-cycle 8-bit digital waveforms! Covered by knobs, the Wave still looks analog and this comprises the “Analog Control Panel”. More complex and new-wave editing of the wavetables and samples is covered by the “Digital Control Panel” where there are several key-pad buttons and an LCD screen. Another familiar treat to analog junkies is the inclusion of an 8-track sequencer which features automation of pitch, loudness, filter cutoff, waveforms and more. A cool feature – its onboard sequencer will also record any filtering and wave changes, in real-time!!
The more commonly encountered Wave 2.3 followed the 2.2 and had enhanced sample-playback capabilities. The sampler was pretty full-featured for its time and included upgraded 12-bit digital waveforms, Fourier analysis and linear playback of samples. The 2.3 model also featured 8-parts multitimbrality and MIDI implementation. The PPG Waves are know to create excellent pads, brass and bass sounds.